13.6.3 Climate change
Climate change is the name given to the long-term change in global weather patterns caused by human activities. It is a global problem and its effects may not be easy to see at a local level. However, it may have an increasingly important impact on the future provision of safe water and therefore on human health and safety. The effects of climate change could include more frequent and intense rainfall events that can mobilise disease-causing organisms and other contaminants. It could also mean increased frequency and magnitude of flood events which would affect the availability of clean water. On the other hand, it could also mean reduced rainfall. Climate change could have profound impacts on the burden of illness associated with waterborne diseases. Increasing water shortage will lead to an increase in sickness and death amongst the populations of developing countries. In Ethiopia, although it is difficult to make exact estimates of the impacts of climate change, declining rainfall could lead to reduced water sources and depleted groundwater, climate sensitive disease could increase, and food insecurity could become an increasing problem.